The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Biblical Basis For Purgatory And An Infinitely Heinous Punishment


#121

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Serenity Prayer

- Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/protestant/addiction/serenity-prayer.aspx#RDHkjeVAozgcQi3O.99


#122

God and saints delight in the justice and that is why there is eternal happiness in heaven despite loved ones suffering eternally in hell? And you say I have an unhealthy view of love???


#123

Yes. because perfect love and perfect justice protect children from abusive evil. Even if it is a loved one.


#124

Protection from abusive evil is not a sufficient condition of happiness.


#125

I don’t even see where the Bible ever declares that the purpose of some hellish location of hopeless torment is for the purpose of protecting us from the abuse of the lost. The notion that this is the only way Abba could protect those of us he loves from dear lost loved ones seems hopelessly human and anemic.

But if that’s the best He can do, I cannot imagine how I would have joy if I knew those for whom God had given me deep love had been hopelessly left in a lost status short of the creation God has promised to reconcile, unless I was just wrapped up in self. When I look back at the decades where I tried to believe and rationalize such an abysmal view of God’s promises and ability, I honestly think that I was full of narcissism. It’s no wonder that such a belief system left me so unfulfilledly anxious.


#126

Is God egotistical Because of Love and Justice?

A lot of people have the misconception that God is egotistical because He seeks glory and worship. What they fail to see is that pride is thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to. For humans to desire the praise and worship of others is egotistical. But we aren’t God. God is the greatest. He is more admirable than anything. We were made to make much of something great. When we do this it completes our joy. The reason God seeks our praise is not because He won’t be complete until He gets it. He does it because we won’t be complete until we give it. This isn’t arrogance on God’s part. It’s love. For it breaks the bondage to the idol of self in the creature. God doesn’t think more highly of Himself than He ought to. He is the greatest Being in existence. His loving and thinking of Himself is in direct proportion to who He is - the greatest of all Beings. Even Christ said to worship only God when He was tempted by Satan.

God is Christ

God is Father

Christ worshipped Father

God worshiped God

God worshiped Himself

God loves Himself more than anything. For us to do this is vanity for we are not God. There are ways we are to be like God and ways we are not to be like God. He alone is God. He delights in His image more than anything which is first and foremost His humility.

God worships God therefore I worship God.


#127

It’s all through the Bible that God is a protector. Oh! how glorious and powerful God is, by defending and protecting His children from all that evil!!

From R.C. Sprouls Reformation Study Bible

22:15** Outside**. See 20:15; 21:8, 27. All evil doers are banished from the holy city, not only to punish them for their evil, but to protect the city from their contamination. The firmness of God’s commitment to exclude evil from the final kingdom is a blessing and an encouragement to the saints.

From the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:

22:15 Outside : The heavenly city is protected from sinful contamination, with evil doers kept far outside it’s walls


#128

If you’re like me you have gotten wrapped up in seeking the praise and attention of others. But God has broken this bondage to the idol of self in me by satisfying my heart with His glory. According to the Catholic Fr. Reginald Garrigou - Lagrange, O.P. in His book “Providence” God’s zeal for His glory (Loving Himself above all) isn’t egotistical for God because He is the greatest sovereign good and therefore must love Himself as such. Not to do so would be a sin. Moreover, the more we glorify Him the more our humility increases. In other words God’s zeal for His glory breaks the bondages to selfishness in us. He gives Himself to us in seeking His glory for the purpose of us being satisfied in His glory. Even Jesus gave the glory to God. God’s love of self-giving breaks the bondage to the idol of self to center our affections on God. He is all-powerful and I give Him the glory. I am powerless and depend on Him. God’s grace gives me the ability to enjoy making much of Him. In this way God is kept at the center. Jesus worshipped God therefore I worship God.

Catholic Prayer (Litany of Humility)

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

There are ways we are like God and ways we are not. We cannot be like God in every way. Knowing the Creator creature distinctions should produce a measure of humility in us.

God is all-powerful - I am not

God is in control of the universe - I am not

God is self-sufficient - I am not

God is infinite in wisdom - I am not

God is perfect - I am not

God is all knowing - I am not

God in infinitely glorious and beautiful - I am not

I trust and rely on God. His glory is the beauty of His infinite perfections. The more I glorify God like Jesus did the more glorious I become. The glory of the creature is in humility.

John 8:50 ~~ I do not seek My own glory. There is One who seeks it, and He is the Judge.


#129

Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life. - Prov. 22:4

(eternal riches, honor, and life)


#130

To protect your view that God’s love and seeking the best for the lost is very short-lived and falls short, I find you make stuff up. These verses don’t even mention that fire is “to protect” the city. That appears to be sheer eisegesis in order to preserve man’s traditions, focused on desires for retributive punishment and our self-centered fears. Indeed, what appears clear is that the gates of the (protected) city are never even shut (21:25), and that the Spirt and the Bride invite the parched to walk right in as soon as they “wash their robes” (22:14,17).

God is not small, and the way God secures a reconciled and safe creation is not that he is reduced to dividing his universe into quarters that are not reconciled, but remain in rebellion. Rather it is this glorious picture of using fire as well as the water of life to purify us so that we become those who wash our robes and “have the right to go through the gates into the city”!" Sola deo Gloria.


#131

It says blessed are those who wash their robes and enter the city. Therefore, this isn’t everybody. The gates of the city are open for those in purgatory. Every creature in heaven, and earth, and under the earth (purgatory) bow the knee.


#132

[quote=“hollytree, post:131, topic:13860, full:true”]
It says blessed are those who wash their robes and enter the city. Therefore, this isn’t everybody. [/quote]

That’s just a non-sequitur seeking to limit God’s power. Stating conditions doesn’t determine who can be brought to meet them. Those who believe in God’s victory have never denied faith and purity are conditions, but they believe God is able to produce what is needed. The reformers agreed, Sola deo Gloria.


#133

God’s power includes His wrath. You have an unhealthy view of love. For the Bible tells us that perfect love and perfect justice protect from evil.


#134

If assertions counted, I’d declare that your denial that God’s steadfast love seeks what is best for the lost, and endures forever, means that you completely reject the essence of love, healthy or unhealthy.


#135

I accept love and the Bible when it says perfect love protects from evil. Love and justice go together. They protect children from abusive evil.


#136

No one denies that. That doesn’t require denying God’s promises of what his love and justice will victoriously do.


#137

God’s promise is to restore all creation. The New Heavens and Earth and the New Jerusalem (all things). The lake of fire isn’t part of that:

For as the new heavens and the new earth , which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh .

Those outside the gates are no part of “all humanity” or the “all things” (New Heaven and earth) God does indeed have mercy on all humankind. But the zombies have committed the eternal sin by rejecting Christ with hardened hearts. Those outside the gates of the new Jerusalem aren’t part of “all mankind” or all things (heaven and earth). They must be grafted in.


#138

I want to share the Catholic reflection today…from RC priest Richard Rohr, of the Center for Contemplation and Action:

Our Priority Is Love

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Brian McLaren, a dear friend and fellow public theologian, shares my concern and hope that Christianity can evolve. In his book The Great Spiritual Migration , he writes:

For centuries, Christianity has been presented as a system of beliefs. That system of beliefs has supported a wide range of unintended consequences, from colonialism to environmental destruction, subordination of women to stigmatization of LGBT people, anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, clergy pedophilia to white privilege. What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a problematic system of beliefs, but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion, that makes amends for its mistakes and is dedicated to beloved community for all? Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life? . . .

For centuries, Christians have presented God as a Supreme Being who showers blessings upon insiders who share certain beliefs and proper institutional affiliation, but who punishes outsiders with eternal conscious torment. Yet Jesus revealed God as one who “eats with sinners,” welcomes outsiders in, and forgives even while being rejected, tortured, and killed. Jesus associated God more with gracious parental tenderness than strict authoritarian toughness. He preached that God was to be found in self-giving service rather than self-asserting domination. What would it mean for Christians to let Jesus and his message lead them to a new vision of God? What would it mean for Christians to understand, experience, and embody God as the loving, healing, reconciling Spirit in whom all creatures live, move, and have their being?

For centuries, Christianity has presented itself as an “organized religion”—a change-averse institution or set of institutions that protects and promotes a timeless system of beliefs that were handed down fully formed in the past. Yet Christianity’s actual history is a story of change and adaptation. We Christians have repeatedly adapted our message, methods, and mission to the contours of our time [for example, the Second Vatican Council within Catholicism]. What might happen if we understood the core Christian ethos as creative, constructive, and forward-leaning—as an “organizing religion” that challenges all institutions (including its own) [as Jesus did] to learn, grow, and mature toward a deepening, enduring vision of reconciliation with God, self, neighbor, enemy, and creation? . . .

If such a migration is possible, how would we describe that way of life toward which we are moving?

If we are to be truly Christian, it makes sense to turn to Jesus for the answer.

Of the many radical things said and done by Jesus, his unflinching emphasis on love was the most radical of all. Love was the greatest commandment . . . his prime directive—love for God, for self, for neighbor, for stranger, for alien, for outsider, for outcast, and even for enemy, as he himself modeled. The new commandment of love [John 13:34] meant that neither beliefs nor words, neither taboos, systems, structures nor the labels that enshrined them mattered most. Love decentered everything else; love relativized everything else; love took priority over everything else—everything.


#139

Hollytree, do you not see that arguing an argument is incorrect by baldly asserting a personal contrary interpretation, without offering any support, doesn’t persuade anyone? I’m sorry, your peculiar claim that those described as evil and lost are not humans, but zombies, is not something I know how to take seriously. But the fella above may find it a scintillating reading.


#140

This is Bob responding to Holly Tree!

True. Especially if we deal, with the zombies of Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)